Leclerc cautious over idea of repeating Austria podium

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly

Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly

Charles Leclerc has said he won’t be getting carried away about his chances in Austria, having scored a P2 finish in Spielberg in 2020.

Leclerc and Lando Norris both scored a podium in the Austrian Grand Prix at the start of last season in a dramatic race at the Red Bull Ring, in spite of Leclerc driving an uncompetitive Ferrari at the time.

While he has earned two pole positions this season – in Monaco and Azerbaijan – his race pace has not quite lived up to the same expectation as his qualifying performances have shown.

Ferrari head into the weekend in Austria off the back of a disappointing race in France. Carlos Sainz and Leclerc had qualified P5 and P7 respectively at Paul Ricard, but they suffered severe tyre degradation issues and both drivers finished outside the points – with the Monegasque driver eventually being lapped on Sunday.

“Yeah last year I came P2 but, let’s say, I was a little bit lucky to get second,” Leclerc said, quoted by GPFans. “We did a good job as a team but there was a bit of luck in that result too.

“So, let’s not get too carried away too much by that. Coming from the weekend [in France], it was very difficult with the race pace, we are searching for answers.

“We are going to analyse this and try to use the three days we have available in the best way we can with the team to try and understand what we can try before the race weekend in Austria.”

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Tyres were a big talking point throughout the paddock in France after Pirelli raised their minimum running pressures and multiple drivers claimed they had issues with grip in the race.

Team principal Mattia Binotto said Ferrari’s tyre problems were not related to Pirelli’s changes, and the team may not be able to solve their issue in the 2021 season – which makes it possible that the Scuderia’s troubles may continue in Austria.

Despite that, Leclerc remains optimistic about trying to find a solution.

“Hopefully we will find something that will help us for the race,” Leclerc said. “We have a very narrow window where we managed to make the tyres work.

“Somehow it is very difficult for us to be in that particular window to make them work. We clearly didn’t manage to put them in that window [in France] and we just really struggled with degradation more than others.”

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